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The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia

Samuel Johnson

The cover for the Standard Ebooks edition of The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia.


Rasselas is a fable-like story, more apologue than novel, written by Johnson in 1759 to help pay for the costs of his recently-deceased mother’s funeral. While the plot is basic and the characters are thin, the work is an important philosophical piece exploring whether or not humanity can attain happiness.

Rasselas, an Abyssinian prince, travels with his sister Nekayah, her handmaiden Pekuah, and the wise poet Imlac—a proxy for Johnson himself. Their exploration of happiness and the meaning of leading a happy life is a complex and subtle one, though the work ends with “nothing concluded.” Johnson leaves the reader to ponder: Can an individual ever attain happiness in any meaningful sense?

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A brief history of this ebook

  1. Link longdesc to author page

  2. Build images

  3. Add quotes around font-family in cover and titlepage SVGs

  4. Update core.css

  5. Update core.css

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